The number of preventable deaths at University Hospital Galway caused by ‘severe’ overcrowding must be investigated.
That’s according to Sinn Féin’s General Election candidate Mairéad Farrell, who this morning called for an investigation following the publication of new figures by the HSE.
These figures revealed that emergency full capacity protocol was invoked 135 times in Galway University Hospital in the first 5 months of the year.
Farrell raised grave concerns over this declaring that ‘full capacity protocol is a hospital’s highest measure for dealing with emergency department overcrowding’.
The Sinn Féin activist maintained that ‘in a properly functioning health service, it should be implemented only in exceptional circumstances’.
Despite this, she claims that hospitals are implementing the protocol nearly every single day due to ‘chronic overcrowding and understaffing’.
She expressed her dismay that the emergency measure has been invoked so frequently within only the first 5 months of the year.
This was used as evidence that the health service was ‘beyond crisis point, for patients and staff’ and that this was detrimental to patients.
She referred to the remarks made by Dr. Fergal Hickey, former president of the Irish Association for Emergency Medicine, who claimed that 350 patients are dying each year as a result of overcrowding in Irish hospitals.
“When full capacity protocol is invoked, much of the normal activity of the hospital is suspended, additional patients are moved onto wards and hallways outside of emergency units and oftentimes elective surgeries at the hospital can be cancelled,” she said.
Mairéad Farrell praised the fantastic work of HSE staff despite being overworked and working under extreme pressures.
She noted that without them the overcrowding situation would be further exacerbated.
Farrell outlined her solutions to the overcrowding crisis which included expanding primary care, increasing the capacity of hospitals, and hiring more staff.